This text was originally distributed by Manchester Anarchist Federation as a leaflet on a demonstration in solidarity with Gaza on Sunday 13/6/10
On May 31st in the dead of night, Israeli elite commandos stormed a convoy of ships carrying aid, preventing it from reaching Gaza, killing nine people and injuring dozens in the process. Those on board had wanted to deliver 10,000 tonnes of food, medicine, construction materials, wheelchairs and other aid to Gaza to break a blockade imposed by Israel since 2007 and provide people with access to some basic necessities of life.
The mass of the population in Gaza has a fragile and miserable existence because of the blockade. It has enclosed Gaza and turned it into a prison; a prison which could not be maintained without the Egyptian government keeping their own border crossing firmly closed. While 70% of Gazans live on less than $1 a day, 75% rely on food aid and 60% have no daily access to clean water. They live in poverty while what little remains is daily attacked by the Israeli bombs and bulldozersWhy did the Israeli state do it?
The Israeli government tried to set up the commandos, wanting evocative photos of wounded/dead Israelis to defend what they are daily doing. Every time there is a period of peace the IDF provokes attacks - otherwise more and more Israelis start asking awkward questions. An aggressive, nationalist leadership best maintains the support of the people when it can convince them that they are under threat, and that they are being defensive.
The world's response – cynical exploitation.
The deaths and injuries on the flotilla were condemned by the UN, EU and other countries with both Turkey and Iran promising to escort any future aid convoy.
We think that this so-called support is part of a world wide cynical exploitation of the population of Gaza. Turkey and Iran are only offering support to make their own populations angry at another country. Iran faces mass opposition to its theocratic regime, only stays in power by fierce repression and daily beatings, rapes and executions of opponents. Turkey has been gripped by massive waves of industrial unrest and strikes recently as the economic recession bites deeper. It is guilty of murderous attacks on the Kurdish people leading to tens of thousands of deaths. Egypt for all its criticism of the Israeli state is the willing guard of the other half of the prison wall round Gaza. Meanwhile, the complaints issued by the British state are just part of the coalition governments attempts to sound nice on human rights and civil liberties before attacking us with cuts and job losses.
Sadly, neither does the Palestinian national movement offer any realizable alternative to the misery and suffering endured on a daily basis in Palestine. Solidarity with the Palestinian working class does not mean supporting the weaker capitalist gangs like Hamas against the more obviously aggressive power like Israel. Hamas has a shown its true nature over and over again with its suppression of the Palestinian public sector workers in 2006, its closure of colleges and the constant attacks and denigration of women and LGBT people. Which are all justified in the name of the ‘national interest’ of Palestine.
Solidarity with the people facing the consequence of a blockade and occupation means rejecting both ruling camps and asserting through struggle the needs of Palestinian to food, shelter, water and the freedom to move and travel as they desire.